read Synners author Pat CadiganAll appropriate technology hurt somebody A whole lot of somebodies Nuclear fusion the fucking Ford assembly line the fucking airplane Fire for Christ s sake Every technology has its original sinRating 25 stars rounded downDone Done done done done DONE The ideas were certainly interesting Hell the characters were interesting However the story could have been told in about half the time And most importantly the presentation could have been done in a way that didn t make me feel toxed for the majority of the book Reading it felt like the the longest fucking trip of my life Now where are the Cheetos This is a cyberpunk novel with musicians instead of shades wearing hackers It was nominated for Nebula in 1991 I read it as a part of Monthly reads in Hugo Nebula Awards Best Novels for September 2019The story follows multiple characters and starts with a twist I m going to die said JonesThe statuesue tattoo artist paused between the lotuses she was applying to the arm of the space case lolling half conscious in the chair What againThe following first third of the book introduces a number of diverse characters with unusual for the time strong female cast who are in no particular order a musical video producer oung and old hackers a producer of interactive immersing games based on old movies several musicians a low rank manager ready to kill in order to advance a sentient AI Because the reader falls in the midst of the story it moistly reads as wtf is happening As story progresses we readers get a better understanding what s going on and there is an interesting mix of great predictions and errors that seem obvious The most glaring inconsistency is an absence of web search engine like Google now and AltaVista in 1995 Yes the web itself was announced in 1990 and first web searchers appeared in 1993 but search function was used earlier both on local computers and pre WWW networks Instead in the book they crawl through directory trees The strongest prediction is user generated video content think YouTube From reviews here on GR many reviewers were impressed by the ending and upped their ratings due to it For me it was Not Without a Fight yes unusual but nothing extraordinary To evade spoilers there is a lengthy adventure in virtual reality that constantly reshapes earlier memories and experiences of the characters a bit like Elysium The concept is interesting but I wasn t enad with execution They mightet Truth is cheap but information costs I can t remember who said thatVince What s His Name said Sam Died in a terrorist raid or something I thought Garden Bouquets and Beyond you said all information should be freeIt should It isn t Knowledge is power But power corrupts Which means the Age of Fast Information is an extremely corrupt age in which to liveAren t they all Sam asked himHe smiled his dreamy little smile at her Ah but I think we re approaching a kind of corruption unlike anything we ve ever known before Sam I Am Sometimes I think we may be on the verge of an original sinTV and TV It looks like something out of an old movie Sam said Forty fiftyears ago they were always dragging out the TV screens when they wanted to show what the glorious future would look like As if the future was just going to be TVThey d be cut off from the rest of the world Sam couldn t remember a time in her life when that had ever happened before twenty four hours a day every day for almost eighteen ears she had been within arm s reach of outside contact the idea of not having anything made her feel claustrophobic and she said soI ve never thought of it that way Fez told her Though I must admit I ve felt antsy since the dataline went down It bothers me that I can t press a button and check on the rest
Of The World Or At Least The Small Parts Ofthe world or at least the small parts of that I m interested in I m not the only one You haven t been able to walk around and see it dear but the irritability threshold around here is lower than it used to be We re not in our natural habitat any We ve become denizens of the net Homo datumSynners I have often joked at work that I can t wait for the day when I can just plug in and let my company use my brain power while I entertain myself with a book It s a fun thought but Synners explores what that might really be like What if we could get information out of our heads as easily as thinking What if we could experience things virtually by inputting sensory information directly into our brains For Gina Gabe and Visual Mark the invention of sockets in conjunction with brain mapping lets that happen At first they use it to create immersive movies and music videos but soon it becomes clear how much they have to change for the machines a phrase used by several characters to describe their feelings about technological advancesThe three main characters each a creator of virtual reality entertainment have different reactions to sockets Gina is the least accepting of the technology She is already used to chasing Visual Mark around in real life pulling him out of drugged stupors and trying to steer him in productive directions She long ago gave up the idea of them as a couple but still sees their lives as permanently and intimately twined She receives sockets to try to maintain her connection to Mark when the large corporation they work for decides they are giving Mark sockets whether she comes along for decides they are giving Mark sockets whether she comes along not Her relationship to the sockets is adversarial Though she creates music videos when needed she makes no effort to soften the impact of her thoughts If they want a fall in the video she makes sure it is a terrifying fallMark is on the far other end of the spectrum He has always been extremely creative and used drugs as a way to temper his own thoughts Now that he has sockets he abandons his body and learns to use the technology around him as his senses and limbs He can finally get his visualizations out of him in all of their gloryGabe is somewhere in between Before the sockets he spent most of his time with virtual companions in a virtual world he d cludged together and which mutated in unexpected but desirable ways He was used to his companions and the technology he had to interact with them He turned out just enough work to stay employed When sockets made the technology he was used to obsolete he had a hard time adjusting They promised him that it would be easier to crea. In Synners the line between technology and humanity is hopelessly slim A constant stre. Te virtual scenarios after all it only took a thought but he found it hard to master his own thoughts He used to fit so comfortably into the world he had created The creation of the world once catalyzed did not reuire his intervention just his participation After the sockets he stood in his own way when creating things that reuired his concentration The sockets demanded that he be the ever present master of his imaginingsWhat is interesting about these characters as a set especially to the reader who may live to see such technologies is that they are all middle aged They have history and complications that ounger characters do not They remember when virtual reality and brain manipulation technologies were in their infancy and those of their generation that were going to wash out already have They are survivors who don t spend their day blissed out on their own brain implants or slaves to their datafeeds The stratification of society into mindless consumers renegade innovators ultrapowerful elites and survivors is a hallmark of cyberpunk In a lot of cyberpunk books the hero is one of the renegade innovators ie hackers but Cadigan chose the survivors instead and it makes the characters relateable Ah I thought The Management Bible you looked likeou needed um change for the machines Gabe shrugged self consciously he could feel the entire common room watching The man s smile was unexpectedly broad and sunny That s a good way to put it How did Zu schnell you know My whole life has been Okay change for the machines Every time they bring in a new machine change Synners SF Masterworks edition pg 105Cadigan also has a way with words that twists the reader to see things in a new light For example the phrase change for the machines which is echoed throughout the book was first introduced in a scene shortly after Visual Mark s small music video production company was acuired by Diversification Inc a huge conglomerate He wanders into an employee meet and greet to use the coffee vending machine and after a while of patting himself down Gabe offers him change for the machines Mark immediately latches on to that phrase and has a private epiphany about the nature of humanity as it relates to immersive technology The reader is privy to the slow unfolding of this epiphanyThis isn t the only example of the beauty of Cadigan s writing but it is the most easily encapsulated I originally picked up this book because I heard Cadigan speak on a panel at Lonestarcon 3 thatear s Worldcon Now I can t wait to reread Synners and then tear through everything she s published hoping to absorb just a little of the magic into my own writing Took me three times through to be fairly sure I had all there was in this book when I first read it back in the early 90s It s dense It s cryptic Its narrative cuts are very very sharp It s got its own slang and a heap of expert IT argot and it bristles with wicked lines If Sleepless (Bird of Stone, you can t eat it or fuck it and it can t dance throw it away Ninety percent of life is being there and the other ten percent is being there on time And the key motif the one the whole book s about Change for the machines O myes that still works best of allThe characters are nearly as sharp as the lines and the world building is neat info LA plugged into every form of VR there was from appetite suppressant implants to insty parties for the suburban wannabes via somebody s gypsy cam and somebody else s wired up hot suit It has excellent space opera sub stories and wild ideas about the old SF chestnuts like What is Human To uote the other catch phrase is All That Far Enough Up The Stupidsphere For YouWith 20 that far enough up the stupidsphere for ouWith 20 and change since the first time I worried that like so many near future cutting edge novels it wouldn t work when the future catches up But Synners makes it in spades The info scene is actually right on line the comp science was so well done that it hardly feels dated The frenzy about viruses is all that seems a bit retrospective now But the people are still cool And the lines are still sharp And the story Still Whacks Along Like Metallica On Fast Forward And The whacks along like Metallica on fast forward and the haven t lost an inch of punch Esp the melt down viral breakout and the last showdown on the virtual lake shore uick nod to Stranger on the Shore there with its scene jumping almost as fast and confusing for the reader as it is for Gina and Gabe A few books aren t just a good read but become a world ou don t want to leave I m happy Synners is still one in my small pile of those Anyone too far up in the stupidsphere to whack to it in Synnerspeak and a number of reviewers seem to have been well that s a real shame for her or him DNF 116 pagesI gave this a shot but can t muster any enthusiasm to continue I have no idea what is going on but nothing about it has inspired me to persevere to discover there are too many characters to keep track of and I am finding the writing style jarring I don t think
cyberpunk is my thing i d kinda forgottenis my thing I d kinda forgotten much I love good cyberpunk until I read this Turns out I really really like itInterestingly in many ways this feels like a preuel to much of the cyberpunk I ve read The main contention is the invention of putting sockets into people s heads to allow them to experience and manipulate the datelines read internet directly the result of which or something similar is what Gibson and Scott and their friends are basically examining So from a getting started perspective I found this book really awesome and in lots of other ways tooCadigan takes the cast of thousands approach using multiple perspectives although always in third person to show lots of different dimensions and angles to the story There were times at which this was a bit confusing but on reflection I wonder if this wasn t done intentionally There were uite a few chapters which shifted perspective where the new character could have been one of several and it s only revealed whose story we re reading after a page or so This contributed to the fairly frenetic feel that the entire book indulges in which is largely appropriate given the madness that ensues in the second half of the story It s also very nice because the variety of characters and their individual stories give wonderful perspective and insight into different aspects of the story Which I likedThe world Cadigan has created. Am of new technology spawns crime before it hits the streets; the human mind and the Is simultaneously a bit dated it was published in 1991 but once some of the terms are translated also uite recognisable She talks of datalines and how people get their news that s basically souped up data retrieval services and massively hyped up RSS readers that do the work for ou And then they use the sockets initially to rev up rock music videos which is just such an hysterically funny idea that the sheer bizarreness just carried me away giggling and happily belief suspended Also there s a lot of drug use Which is perhaps neither here nor there but also certainly adds to the manicness The plot revolves around the introduction of sockets and what that might mean for society with a whole lot of corporate hijinkery and espionage and hackery as well There s a fatherdaughter relationship that pops up every now and then not something ou see every day in this sort of futuristic novel as well as somewhat surprisingly when Invisible (The Curse of Avalon you see the characters a love story that s not very romantic in one way but actually really is sweet in a fierce I ll deckou sort of way Plus a load of bizarre and whacked friendships and enmities that go a long way towards populating this world with dysfunctional but uite entertaining charactersThis was my first Cadigan novel I ll be coming back for In fact I have Tea from an Empty Cup sitting on my shelf Cyberpunk Is it all pretty much a mess wrapped up with mirror shades and spinal shunts hacking and gunsNOT this one Well it was pretty much a mess of characters and mediots for than half the novel and I ll be honest I was rather mystified and wondering where the novel was going or whether it WAS going anywhere It felt like a random number generator approach to novelization We had a bunch of friends all interconnected on the media train in all different positions or outside of the corporate loop and most of it was fairly interesting in and of itself but then I kept asking myself Where is this going It felt like a discovery novel As in the author is throwing out everything and she s just gonna get there when she gets thereWhich is fine but I truly had to wonder As a coherency thing I got through something like 70% of the novel and I was CERTAIN that I was going to give it a 2 star rating I was SO over it I didn t like it I didn t careSo what happenedWell apparently Cadigan pulled one hell of a magic trick on us or she just poured over her text with a VERY fine comb in prep for the rewrite and then just produced GENIUS wrapping up all these character threads into something really freaking amazing for the last 30% of the novel Total vindication All those bits and pieces came shining out of the page and turned this hot mess of a novel into something profound technologically awesome and strangeI wouldn t say that I d like to read this again anytime soon perhaps because it was something of a chore but the satisfaction uotient is WAY up there She knows how to pull of ENDINGS WowThis was the dark horse of all novels And it turned out pretty punk ish by the end too but no guns It s a nice change for the genre There is a great deal to enjoy and admire about this prescient trippy novel its energetic jazzy prose its efforts to imagine and bring to life virtual reality experiences long before virtual reality experiences were made real it was published in 1990 its before virtual reality were made real it was published in 1990 and its cast of characters especially the foul mouthed driven prone to fisticuffs Gina But ultimately it spins its narrative wheels a bit too much over the course of its several hundred pages and the climax devolves into near incoherence I m glad to have read it and it s definitely way satisfying than some of the other 3 star reads on my shelf but I also wanted from it in the end This was the pick of the month for the LadyVaults on MagicalSpacePussycats and so naturally I read it It was my first foray into Cyberpunk and it was MiNdBeNdInG This was written during the early stage of the web and Yummy Supper yet it is jammed full of new ideas and ideas which really have happened A story filled with hackers and VR simulations and big bad corporationsdefinitely a little scary when compared to our world but also very imaginativeOne element which I did like about this was the sheer amount of female characters A lot of the time I read books by male authors when reading SFF and I think over time that has made me accept the token women in the story than I should This book being written by a lady has about a 5050 split of malefemale characters and that alone was truly refreshingI will say ifou want to dive into this it is probably going to be a challenge for ou if it s our first Cyberpunk like me but if Deep Listening you push on it does have some very cool moments I definitely enjoyed reading this and the experience it gave me coming waaay out of my comfort zone Overall a 35 from me Ifou want to hear spoiler discussion of this book it will be featured in Magical Space Pussycats Podcast Ep 3 which should go up next week so keep a look out for that D I did not get very far with this one I found Cadigan s writing extremely irritating I felt like she was trying too hard to be cool down with the kids The story is about tattooed druggie hackers who listen to rock music and go against a big corporate record label or something At the start of chapter 2 one character who is of course very cool is in court wondering whether she will be found guilty of anything and charged The speculation concludes with Fuck it what difference did one charge make anyway The fines would clean her out and then some one garnishment on her wages so fucking what All she cared about now was getting back on the street Later she wonders what her BFF Mark is doing But the best uestion was what the fuck was Mark doing there all on his own without a word to her She and Mark were in it together always had been They d been in it together in the beginning and when Galen had bought most of the video production company out from under the Beater and they d been in it together when Galen had let the monster conglomerate take EyeTraxx over from him and they were supposed to be in it together the day after tomorrow when they were due to show up for their first full day working for the monster conglomerate Cadigan is so fucking cool that she italicises the word fuck I gave up at page 36 Not my thin. Xternal landscape have fused to the point where any encounter with reality is incident. .